Saturday, January 3, 2015

Unsolicited Advice #23: Do it yourself yourself!

Etsy handicrafts, when displayed on the body or in the home, mark their owner as a supporter of DIY culture.  We spent our youths crafting identities, homes, and outfits from reformulated social detritus, a personal, messy process.

While we unconditionally encourage you to support our nation's artisans, we cannot recommend abdicating the pleasure of creation.

You can't do it yourself by proxy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Unsolicited Advice #22: Dress your boyfriend like a man

Residing in a wonderland of hipster delights, we briefly entertained the notion that a visit to a swanky men's store would allow us to inject a little freshness into our boyfriends' wardrobes.  However, our trip to Stag on South Congress was an unmitigated disappointment.

Gentle reader, we hail from the dark north woods.  We ply chainsaws up there, and one of us is no stranger to the utility of the quilted padding on the right shoulder of a plaid chamois shirt.  We appreciate the beautiful utility of men's outdoor work wear and we sympathize with the erstwhile businessman who wishes he spent more time engaged in manly outdoor pursuits.  These days we wish we did too.

There is an undeniable sexiness to once-stiff articles worn down by a single body's exertions into a shape at once intimate and protective, an unselfconscious record of experience.  Machine-worn articles just don't fit the same way.  

Rather than spending $150 on a butter-soft dove grey chamois shirt for your office-bound boyfriend at Stag, head to Cabella's and buy him a solid-color Woolrich chamois shirt.  Make him wear it on a bunch of hikes.  See if you can get him to split some wood.

We promise good results.

Unprovoked attack #3: Your wedding, your problem

If you have decided to be united with a beloved in holy matrimony, don't expect your friends to give pints of blood in service of "your special day".  It is in poor taste to have maids at your wedding who are responsible for managing your hysteria.  When the mascara and the nylons begin to run, don't run your ladies, run to your wo/man.

If you don't trust him/her enough to pick up the pieces of your broken plate, then you shouldn't be even asking those ladies to plunk down serious change on the unflattering taffetas your mother-in-law to-be selected via a series of polemical emails to the full bridal party.

Unsolicited Advice #21: How to develop and deliver an apology

When you have done something deeply wrong, for example picked a fight with your boyfriend at four AM, reparations are in order.  It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you have a scheme to avoid future peregrination down the path that led to your reprehensible behavior.

Step-by-step instructions:
  1. Stop it!
  2. Say you're sorry
  3. Set aside some time for self-reflection, either in solitude or in the company of a helpful friend (not the aggrieved party)
    • Identify the pattern of thought or deed that induced you, an otherwise kind and caring person, to comport yourself like a selfish fool
    • Describe that pattern in precise, nonjudgmental human language (i.e. "lack of compassion" not "being dumb as a stump")
    • Draw up a self-improvement plan that directly addresses the pattern in question*
  4. Express your contrition to the injured party again.  Take responsibility by laying out the etiological relationship between your unfortunate pattern and the crummy thing you did.
    • Consider sharing your self improvement plan with the target of your onslaught**

*The Dewey Decimal number for Self Help is 150.  The more enterprising, or less literate, might also look to hermit in a cave.

**User discretion is advised here. It is often unnecessarily self-indulgent to share your plan.